Companies accuse Interior Ministry of injustice

Jan 13, 2021, 10:18 AM | Article By: Pa Modou Cham

SMART Gambia Ltd. and Tedungal Multimedia and Consultancy Firm have blamed the Ministry of Interior in awarding and procurement of the aluminium number plates contract that was tabled by the ministry for a bid.

The bidding and awarding that was held in 2018 and awarded to Comfort Quality Services, according to the two companies, was injustice.

After several consultations with the ministry and letters submitted to the Office of the President, the Interior Ministry, Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service, Speaker of the National Assembly, the Attorney General and the Inspector General of Police, the companies claimed there is still injustice.

Banta Musa Njie of SMART Gambia Ltd. informed this medium that his company was contacted by the commissioner of licence in July 2018 about an impending tender for vehicle number plates. According to him, it came after a consultation with the deputy Inspector General of Police; who confirmed to them that they were not happy with the current quality and wanted to switch to aluminium number plates.

“We wrote a letter to the IGP accompanied by a sample catalogue stating our interest to supply the aluminium number plates. We also presented a physical sample of the plates, with the quality that the IGP was satisfied and in late October 2018, a formal offer was sent to the Inspector General of Police. We later received a letter of interest from the Office of the Inspector General of Police, which also stated the names of the team they would like to visit the company in Spain. On December 2nd, the team, which comprised Abdoulie Sanyang, Demba Sowe, Ali Faye and myself travelled to Barcelona to visit the plant.”

Njie further explained that upon their return, he wrote a proposal to the Ministry of Interior and copied to the IGP dated December 12, 2018, saying he was later informed by the Ministry of Interior that the number plate will be subjected to open bidding. He added that he was shortlisted for the tender based on RFQ and he submitted his tender on January 16, 2019, and a letter was sent to them on February 8, 2019, stating their bid was unsuccessful.

“In line with GPPA Act, I requested an explanation for the unsuccessful bid but I was not satisfied with the reasons given. As a matter of fact, most of the said reasons were categorically untrue. I wrote a letter to the Complaints Review Board, as provided in the GPPA Act 2014, the ruling that was delivered on March 18, 2019, highlighted that the financial bid of SMART should be considered. I received another letter on March 24, informing me that the re-evaluation which has taken place and that our bid was unsuccessful. Upon receiving this letter, I decided to take legal actions.

Njie said he was reliably informed that a contract was signed between the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Comfort Quality dated May 7, 2019, adding that his company was the highest bidders with an amount of 65 million dalasis. According to him, two other companies that had the same quality of products with Comfort were unsuccessful and with lesser bids of 35 and 32 million dalasis.

Omar Leigh of Tedungal, reiterated that they purchased a set of the tender documents at D10, 000 from the procurement office only to be told it was unsuccessful.

“Through social media and other bidders, we heard Comfort Quality Services emerged as the successful bidder. Early May 2019, some bidders wrote to protest against the awarding of the contract.”

According to Mr. Leigh, under normal circumstances, and in line with The Gambia Public Procurement Authority Act 2014, all bidders should have been informed as to why their bids were rejected.

He added that Tedungal was the first to introduce Tönnjes, a German Vehicle Identification Company to The Gambia and entered into agreement with them.

“Our ideas were given to Comfort Quality Service and they ended up hijacking the company we had introduced to The Gambia.”